Monday, September 22, 2014

Good afternoon from the Mountain

Good afternoon from the mountain, I am sorry for not including you in our rounds of the world sooner; honestly I have just not been up to it.  School is going as well as to be expected, and the children continue to grow wiser and wiser by each passing day.  

In our homeschooling we are studying Teddy Roosevelt the author, a president by chance and an all-around interesting person.  His books are quite interesting and chocked full of interesting facts about the world that he lived in.  I recommend any of them…

So today I went to buy feed in the state next door, I can be found doing this very same thing at least once a week, but this week differed as a friend shocked me by telling me I was crazy, now in his defense he did not come out right and say that, he explained that he knew someone who was crazy like me.  Hmmmmm!  I know it was not meant in an offensive way, but somehow it is as painful to be as a branding iron set to stun.  Why I wonder do people think, I am crazy for living closer to the earth and rebuking the need to be one of the crowd.  It was not too long ago that I was one of the crowd, just fifty or so good years too late to most accounts. 
I value my lifestyle in which I grow most of our food, where we raise our own, milk, eggs and meat, where we also forage and hunt.  In my world it is more important to get off grid that to have a new fancy car, watch, cell phone, or another gadget that one pours life into.  I value books; I value family and do not create in my children’s lives endless ways to be without them, but rather live my life with them.  I think team work can be learned best in a family and less in a sport.  We are simple people living a perfectly simple life, one in which we chose solitude and knowledge over the noise chaos and daily life that most people live.  I think it is far from crazy for us, and many who came before us it is quit sane. 
As to the farm, I was blessed to have a buyer for a good portion of our birds and maybe the bull calf.  I am feeling better that we can go forward with a little less and maybe get past this all.  We still need to raise money to pay for the propane and the hay as well as the stuff we still need to finish the kitchen. I need to go for now as I am due at a class… Be BlessedShekhinah 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Good afternoon from the mountain

Good Afternoon from the mountain, I am sorry it has been so many days since my last post.  I am desperately trying to find some way to make things work out on the farm, but I just cannot seem to find a way for all the pieces to come together.  At current I have taken the largest cow to the butcher and I know I am not going to get more than a few hundred pounds of meat from her, but it will be good quality meet that will end up costing us about $1.19 per pound, not too shabby for organically raised beef.  So I will take what I can get from her, as she was not going to produce any more useable milk for us.  

The butcher said we picked a good time to eat her, even with her poor weight as the older dairy cows get to tough to eat.  Honestly I had no idea.  But I am glad I took her and the place seems very nice, it was impeccably clean as well.  The staff was compassionate, and quick in what they did, it was like watching a well composed Opera, where every movement had purpose and meaning. In short I was very pleased. 

For those who might be wondering why she did not weigh more, it is because we have had her calf on her for over 11 months now and he is a plump tender looking creature who is now near the size that she was, except with a lot more meat.  I felt it was worth the trade for more tender meat. He will be going to the butcher very soon. 

One of the things I was most pleased with was the fact I could watch the whole process at the butcher shop and was even invited to return this Wednesday morning to see the cow being cut up and learn more about the whole process.  I have seen many videos, but I think being a part of it may give me a better understanding of the greater process involved.  All knowledge is good knowledge and if I someday want to be able to hunt larger game animals, such as Moose, Elk or Buffalo, than this knowledge will help greatly. 

So that is where I am with the first cow and soon the second.  I have decided since I could not find a buyer for the goats or the last sheep, that we will eat them as well.  When all the big animals are gone our freezer will be full and that is at least something to look forward too. 

In regards to the birds on our farm, I have had two troublesome events take place.  First is the fly in and contamination of our Cayuga eggs.  I have not seen wild ducks, but our last batches of Cayuga ducks show the signs of wild Mallards.   So I will be replacing or refunding that person I am sure, but when you free range birds you set yourself up for these sorts of events.  I should be glad it has not happened more often.  So my choices are to stop selling them all together or to sell them with a warning of possible duck crossing.  I am not sure what I will do yet.  My next problem arose with the new OEG self-blues laying and me putting the two pens together, what a mess this now is.  I bought what I was told was OEG Dutch Blue, they are not there are a cross at best as worst blue OEG. This mean when they breed they can make blue chicks, lemon chicks, splash, or a combination of them.  It also makes them less desirable.  

Unscrupulous dealers have put this part of my hatching egg business at risk at best and at worst shut it down.  I will never make back the money spent of these chicks, the dealer will not return phone calls and well it just goes downhill from there.   So now each hen must be taken out and placed with the roo I know is pure and we must wait on her eggs to hatch and see what we get, if they are half breeds, they will be sold off at a loss, full breeds re-penned in another area.  I guess I can sell them as mixed for now, but it is heart breaking to pour your heart and soul into them only to be disappointed so many months later.

Onto other farm events, my eldest son was by about a week ago and butchered out a quail pen, so he has some quail for his freezer and we have some in ours.  It helps to size down and I cannot wait to do the pigeons. 

The gardens are still holding fast, though we have lost a lot of the tomatoes and all of the beans and cucumbers to the heat.  I will try one last batch of beans and hope for the best.  I am trying to figure out if I can grow beans hydroponically and that may in the end be the answer for us.  I have the young tomato plants and some peppers plants ready for the new hydroponics system, now I just need to get a few tasks out of the way to set the first one up. 
I am setting up a disposable dehydrator today to help tiny up the produce and I am hoping to put it to good use.  The more I put up the better off we will be and I still have pears and pumpkins that need done.  We did get some into the freezer, but I will need that space for meat so I am glad for the cooler weather that is coming so I can get back to canning. 

I still have not gotten out to the hives either, so it is another task on my endless list of things needing done.  When you have a farm your list never ends and people rarely understand why you cannot just leave and do other things.  I guess you could, but you would likely come back to one heck of a mess.

As to our dear little children they are busy learning.  They are also ready for their first deer hunt and I am glad that they will be able to hunt.  I found bullets for their guns at the feed store of all places and hurried myself to the purchase, so they are ready.  I hope to have deer meat for the table and jerky for snacks. 

Not much else is going on, other than the College and I continuing the dance of they know what they are doing.  I am now being drug through a money counseling event that is of course mandatory. It must be done face to face and I was asked if I minding driving two hours to be there.  I explained I did mind and I was unable to comply and then a time was set, ten minutes later she called to change it telling me I needed to compromise, really?  Hmmm, so that led to me having to take time from my class to go and see her, even though the class is mandatory as well. All in hopes they can shame me for borrowing money, rolling my eyes, they call it help. I see it as a waste of time, if I have only one semester left at your school why put me through it, I will be one of the less than 20% that leave with a degree.  Perhaps they would do better to speak to the new people coming in, as I myself am in for a penny and a pound with no choice but to do the deed and finish my degree. It makes me sick to think that people from outside of this country coming in as illegals and they will go to college for free and I must work and struggle, go into debt. 
Anyway I must go back to work…
Be Blessed